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These French wines are hauntingly good By Gail Appleson ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH Wednesday, Oct. 15 2008

Jon Parker, owner of Parker's Table at 8137 Maryland Avenue in Clayton, is looking forward to Halloween. For parents in the Skinker DeBaliviere neighborhood, where he lives, there's no trick to having a good time. They simply enjoy their own treats, in this case, some good seasonal wine. "Parents carry their wine glasses from porch to porch," Parker said. "What you see are plastic pumpkins and crystal." So what does he recommend as "porch-to-porch" wines? He suggested what he described as two "offbeat, good values" from France. For a white, Parker chose the 2007 Novellum Chardonnay, selling for $12.99. Critics have awarded high marks to this wine, which comes from respected

importer Eric Solomon of European Cellars. Parker said that while the wine was aged in oak, it's brighter and fresher than many of its California counterparts. I agree. While I'm not a fan of big, oaky Chardonnays, this wine is different. I really enjoyed the Novellum and found it easy to drink. It does have some oak, but the flavor is subtle and complements the fruit rather than overpowers it. This is a lively, crisp white with a long, clean finish. The Novellum offers a balance of creaminess and refreshing minerality that's great for a fall day. The wine would pair well with lighter cuisines and cream sauces. My only complaint is that the dense plastic cork was a real pain to remove. For a red, Parker recommended the 2006 Gérard Bertrand Corbières, selling for $14.99. This is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre that comes from the Corbières, a sub-region of the Languedoc-Roussillon, located in the south of France. Years ago, Corbières was known for cheap, simple reds, but its reputation has vastly improved as it has acquired new technology and has replaced poor quality vines. A case in point is this Gérard Bertrand blend. It received 89 points from Wine Spectator, which described it as a "lip-smacking" red. This is a concentrated, plummy dry red that has a long, spicy finish. It would be an excellent choice for visiting porches on a cool autumn evening as well as a match for duck and wild mushroom dishes.

St. Louis Dispatch Recommends GB Corbieres  

John Parker of Parker's Table in Clayton recommends the 2006 Gerard Bertrand as a great value choice for Fall drinking.

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